If the draft evaluation process was solely based on talent, than Randy Gregory would no doubt be one of the first picks off the board. He could still be, but with the latest news of a failed drug test during the combine, Gregory's reaction says a lot more.
"It was a shot to the gut." said Gregory after getting the news via phone from his father. "I blame myself and I know it sounds cliche but I really have nobody else I can blame for this but myself."
Gregory initially thought that he had received a draft invite, but soon found out that wasn't the case. The distraught defensive end expressed his concerns:
"Am I worried? Yeah, I'm worried," he said. "At the same time, I'm confident. I know I'm going to be all right in the end."
The issue is that this marijuana deal isn't a newly-found phase, and has troubled him for the majority of his college career. Gregory first started smoking marijuana right after high school and had anxiety issues due to his failure to academically qualify to his college of choice which was Purdue. He ended up enrolling at Arizona Western Community College. Though he didn't play football in 2012 due to a broken leg, he was still highly sought after by major college programs.
In 2013, he transferred to Nebraska where he admitted the issues only got worse. There, Gregory failed two drug tests for marijuana and was told he would be dismissed from the team if he failed a third.
Gregory explained "I was worse at Nebraska than I've ever been at any other time of my life, but I know how I am now. I think if teams really look at how I am now more so than the past, they'll see I'm making strides to get better, as a person and as a player."
He claimed that the failed test stems from marijuana he smoked in December, he says he's since been clean and that the THC levels were still very active from his previous usage. He also stated that he's got a great team around him including his agent Deryk Gilmore and former Jets and Chiefs head coach Herm Edwards, who has agreed to mentor Gregory. Gilmore has also gone public with a platform that he will present to the team that drafts Gregory. It is said to be a detailed plan-of-action that will give team's confidence in selecting Randy.
It is unknown what this failed test will do for his draft status, but 26 teams have expressed their concerns to Gregory. He maintains that he doesn't want this to affect his career in the NFL but will enter the league already in the first stage of it abuse program. Some Draftniks including Bryan Broaddus and Dane Brugler have spoke on DallasCowboys.com's Draft Show and gave pause about the prospect. Brugler even went as far as to say there were multiple teams that could possibly look elsewhere.
With marijuana being decriminalized in some places and being made legal in others, many folks believe that this isn't a big deal. However, the NFL still takes a very hard stance against the usage of the drug. With the current suspension levied against Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Gordon, the NFL has made their stance clear.
It is widely believed that Gregory will not fall too far but doubts and questions still remain about his commitment to his career. Gregory has stated playing professional football is a "dream" scenario, but will enter the league already at a possible stand-still. He believes he has made and will continue to make strides toward earning the trust from an NFL team.
"This incident right now is a step toward ending my career. The last thing I want to do is fail another drug test and be out of the league. I want it on the record. I want people to understand I know I messed up. I'm owning up to it. I realize it. But at the same time, I'm taking the right steps to get better and to fix it."
I pose the question to the BTB community, if Gregory were to potentially fall (big if) to 27, would you run his card up and take the chance?